How can Lib Dems help bees right now?

 

I’m a videogame developer with a distinct love for wildlife and conservation, I am a big fan of bees and beekeeping. Whilst we already have some groundwork put in place for strategies to protect bees and other pollinators I thought it would be nice to list a few suggestions for what we as Liberal Democrats can do to improve the environment for these creatures right now in local government.

If possible it would be beneficial to ensure that specifications given to council contractors for gardening and landscaping include flowers well known for attracting bees and other pollinators such as English Lavender or Sweet William. It would also be wise to allow areas such as roadside verges to grow in such a way that wildflowers bloom there naturally, this could be done by changing how often or to what extent verges are mowed.

We should continue to avoid and attempt to eliminate the use of neonicotinoids and review the use of pesticides wherever possible. Producing open publications on use of pesticides and herbicides by local government and encouraging local businesses such as landscaping companies to do the same would also contribute towards improving the environment for pollinators.

If your council runs gardening competitions creating prizes specifically aimed at gardens that encourage pollinators like bees and butterflies will drive people to think about what flowers they can plant to encourage more pollinators.

We should be encouraging local schools (primarily primary ones…) to create bee-friendly habitats and educate students about the importance of pollinators like bees for a rich and diverse ecosystem. This could be ran as a scheme involving local beekeeping organisations, inviting beekeepers to do talks for students in assemblies or one-off workshops.

A really simple way of helping bees is to get bee shelters and bee hotels installed on council sites. Bees often shield themselves from the rain and wait it out before continuing on their journey, so providing them with bespoke shelter is a great way of encouraging more visits. Some cities have gone so far as installing full beehives on top of the roofs of larger buildings to combat the drop in bee populations.

It is also relatively easy to publicise the plight of bees in your local area, help promote the work of local beekeeping organisations and help organisations like Friends of the Earth with their Great British Bee Count campaign – I have received a great deal of leaflets and even a bee costume from them in the past to help spread the word. It is also a good idea to encourage people to turn off any technology that emits a Wi-Fi signal during the night to help negate the effect of electromagnetic pollution on bees.

Conservation at a local level is an incredibly important step towards improving biodiversity and helping our pollinators thrive. I would challenge Liberal Democrat councillors across the UK to try and implement some of the measures above in their local area to help them become more bee-friendly.

* Sean Oxspring is a videogame developer and BAFTA nominated teacher of games design. He joined the party in February this year.

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3 Comments

  • I have aside a patch in my allotment for wild flowers next year and many others do the same on our site. Several websites offer free wildflower seeds to help bees, it would be great if we could get hold of some and hand them out when door knocking. Encouraging people (who have gardens & space) to plant them, they are a great way to put at the back of beds against walls/fences

  • collect part-used and unwanted packets of seeds and plant them?
    the gardening magazines often give free packets away – and the wastage must be terrible.

  • Great ideas. Bees are the LibDems of the insect world: incredibly hardworking, dedicated to their community, every one of them is accepted by the rest and has a role to play. And Just look at the colours! 8=))

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